New barge traffic is a triumph for Leeds City Council’s planning policies

Unloading a 500 tonnes capacity barge in Leeds that brought sea-dredged aggregates from Hull (credit: Maik Brown)

The Commercial Boat Operators Association is delighted that a new barge traffic carrying marine dredged aggregates has started from Hull to Leeds. The 500 tonnes capacity barge arrived at Knostrop, east Leeds, yesterday.

This is the culmination of many years’ hard work by various groups. It started with Leeds City Council’s minerals planning policy decision to safeguard from unsuitable developments a number of wharves in the City, including ones at Knostrop and at Stourton so they could be used to unload aggregates and other cargoes.

Behind this lay a wish to see more use of marine dredged aggregates in Leeds and West Yorkshire rather than from inland quarries with consequential road haulage.

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The use of marine dredged aggregates (from the North Sea) is a sustainable activity as nature replenished the deposits at sea. Not so with land based supplies. The use of 500 tonne capacity barges and thus avoiding using heavy vehicles from inland quarries will be beneficial for the environment.

Each barge will take off the crowded M62 18 articulated lorries carrying 28 tonnes. Barges emit 75% less CO2 than heavy lorries. They cause less dust and less noise than lorries. Barges can help Leeds City Council in its efforts to improve air pollution and improve the well-being of its citizens.

The combination of using marine dredged aggregates and of using barges for transport to Leeds is a “win/win” for the environment. With increased construction activity expected in Leeds and West Yorkshire, this is a very good time to be using barges to bring aggregates and other construction materials into Leeds.

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CBOA chairman David Lowe said: “We have worked hard with Leeds City Council planners to create the basis for increased use by barges of the waterways of Leeds and the surrounding area. Today is the realisation of many years’ efforts.

A 500 tonnes capacity barge en route from Hull to Leeds with sea- dredged aggregates (credit: Maik Brown)

“We are delighted that the use of barges creates the opportunity to reduce air pollution in Leeds by negating the need for HGVs and improve the well-being of its citizens. The proposed inland Port of Leeds at Stourton will increase the opportunities for more barge use.”

Andy Collins of AC Marine Aggregates, the company whose aggregates have been brought to Leeds, said “The use of barges from Hull means we can enter a new market for us – the area around Leeds and into West Yorkshire. We have been bringing sea dredged aggregates into Hull for some years to serve the local markets.

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“We are grateful to the CBOA and their member firms for enabling us to turn into a reality our hopes to improve the environment by using “green” transport and extending the use of aggregates from a sustainable source.”

The area being used at Knostrop is about one-tenth of an acre and is seen as a temporary phase. The Canal & River Trust’s wider ambitions are to see the development of a 10 acre site at Stourton on the outskirts of east Leeds.

Full planning permission has been obtained and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have offered £3.17m towards the costs. The Trust is now seeking the balance of the funds required. The business plan is based on moving 200, 000 tonnes a year of marine aggregates – the equivalent of 8 barges a week.

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